Still not XCOM

Stately Scrying: What we’re playing this weekend

While I know it’s not the most beloved game around these parts, I seem to have fallen pretty hard for One Deck Dungeon from Handelabra. I purchased the Forest of Shadows expansions and promo cards and discovered Quick Play mode which randomly pits one or two adventurers against one of the 10 or so bosses. It’s fantastic. I love learning the quirks of each class and using the hero progression to slowly give them new abilities for the next time they randomly get called to service. I’ve played for hours at a time this week which is not something I’ve done with a video game in quite a while. I bring this up because I will probably be playing it quite a bit over the weekend as well along with a few other things. We’ll all be playing games over the weekend and to see which ones, skip past the jump.

Everything Aliens and Frozen Synapse 2

Rebecca Black wasn’t wrong. [Did someone say she was? I’ll rip out their blasphemous tongue! -ed.]

Going a bit retro this weekend, strapping up like that Commando scene with all sorts of detritus from the Nineties. First stop, Cryo‘s slightly anaemic Aliens: Comic Book Adventure. Cryo? Falling just short of the mark? You don’t say.

However, given the Alien kick I’m currently on, it’ll be interesting to revisit this RPG-cum-adventure game. Based loosely on the Dark Horse comics of the era, it’s a quiet search and rescue in the vein of the second film. However, xenomorphs are scant, and as with Cryo’s magnum opus Dune, it’s very much about the characters. Sadly, it’s also about faffing around with incongruous propositions like playing reversi to propel the story. But, atmosphere is key, and for those who can’t suffer tepid mechanics for ambience, it’s game over. Or a Youtube longplay.

I crunched around in Probe’s Alien Trilogy recently, and despite its geriatric shortcomings and immense lack of mechanical complexity, it whet the appetite to continue through the franchise’s shooter outings. Tonight, it’s all about Alien Resurrection, the Argonaut-developed PS1 title that was lambasted for — shock horror — having some convoluted dual stick movement scheme. That will never catch on, surely.

It’s actually an accomplished game, and earns its mantle as Resurrection redeemed. Argonaut’s title feels like a deconstructed immersive sim, flensed to its barest essentials. While a touch clunky in 2018, I still think Alien Resurrection is worth seeking out and following its loading screen directive of ‘best played with the lights out’.

But the crown jewel of the weekend smorgasbord is, of course, Frozen Synapse 2. Years in the making, offering its trademark tactical network of murder nodes in a bigger and broader game space, here’s to all sorts of PBEM shenanigans. And by shenanigans, read being left with nothing more than five second parcels of splayed corpses and broken dreams. Here’s to Mode 7 Games.

Have a safe weekend!

-Alex Connolly

Tales of Maj’Eyal, Chaos Reborn: Adventures and Dragon Quest Builders

This weekend, I’ll be playing more Tales of Maj’Eyal – I’m really enjoying seeing the world from different perspectives and the way it tries different things without completely breaking from the D&D mould. It’s dangerous, getting serious about a serious roguelike: there are people who started playing Nethack in the late ’80s and never stopped. It’s like the Song That Doesn’t End. Hey ed, how many Lambchop references am I allowed per annum? [Only that one -ed.]

I’ve stuck with iOS 10 for a long time as a kind of futile protest against the app-ocalypse. Civilization 6 shook, but did not break, my resolve. I really wanted Read Only Memories: Type M, but I resisted. But then Chaos Reborn: Adventures released this week, and I’m a huge Julian Gollop groupie so… I gave in and updated my iPad. I didn’t play Chaos Reborn on PC nearly as much as I’d expected to, but this is a natural for tablets, bite-size but very toothsome and moreish. It makes me want to play the original Chaos from 1984 (for ZX Spectrum) again, for comparison, but while I have a ZX Spectrum app with a “classic Gollup” collection, that app won’t run on iOS 11. Damn you, Tim Cook!

On the family front, a friend lent us Dragon Quest Builders and my 7 year-old is enchanted, so I’m expecting some cooperative singleplayer family gaming. What is cooperative singleplayer family gaming? It’s like having a livestreamer in your living room, and every five minutes they interrupt you to to show you something cool or for help with something. It’s… really endearing, actually.

-Tof Eklund

Drop 7

I’ll be going on a little weekend vacation with my girlfriend and her parents, and I don’t think I’ll have too much room for anything other than some light mobile gaming. Mainly Drop7. I don’t quite know why, but I’ve fallen back into my Drop7 addiction. It really is one of the best phone games ever made, and also the only worthwhile game with a Zynga logo on the icon. Of course, they only bought the studio that originally made it and republished the game… and maybe changed the RNG… But that was all years ago and we’re long past any of that mattering. All that matters now is that it still works and that I can still play with the old sounds and graphics, because dammit, those new-fangled animations are too distracting.

-Tanner Hendrickson

Vampire Fall: Origins, Chaos Reborn: Adventures, and Legend of Solgard

It’s a feast time of year for mobile gaming, and a pair of great recent games have caught my attention. First, I’m really enjoying old-school-style RPG Vampire’s Fall: Origins. It has an entertaining and often laugh-out-loud spate of quests and engaging turn-based combat. The character advancement is great as well with lots of optimization options. Oh, also the game is free with no ads or other freemium monetization strategies. Definitely grab it if you’re into mobile RPGs.

Second, Chaos Reborn: Adventures is really fun. It’s a turn-based, card-driven combat game akin to Duelyst and Faeria, though without the deck building and booster buying. One of the cooler innovations is the ability to cast illusory creatures that cost zero mana but can be disbelieved by your opponent. Correctly disbelieving an illusion removes it from battle. Incorrect use of disbelief uses up your ability to cast any spells that turn. It adds an interesting layer of bluffing to the game. Chaos Reborn: Adventures is well out of impulse buy territory but if you like tactical combat I daresay you’ll get your money’s worth between the solo campaign and online battles.

Finally, I’ve taken up Legend of Solgard like many other fine Stately Players (editor, I defy thee!) [you’re grounded! -ed.].  Tanner put it correctly in the Stately Play Discord when he said, “It’s super F2P”, but the base game is very fun and it fills in my quick-and-easy gaming slot during my morning coffee and other times throughout the day. We even have our own in-game clan led by the indomitable JammaTal.

-Nick Vigdahl

Marvel’s Spider-Man

In a world over saturated with Marvel products (I’m writing this while sitting on my Captain America Super Couch, feeling comfortable in my Star Lord pajama set) Marvel’s Spider-Man stands out. I’m just a third of the way through the main story, but the stakes seem high and the character work is memorable and emotional. They really do a great service to these characters we’ve seen in countless iterations of the series.

And yes, the web-swinging is perfect. The game has approximately one million collectibles and side missions, and I might finish them all because of how thrilling it is to traverse Manhattan.

I started nursing school a few weeks ago, and it’s been great to escape into this world when I have the free time.

Nick Houghtaling (aka the other Nick)

One Deck Dungeon, 18xx, and, maybe Cities: Skylines

With school starting my free time for gaming has shrunk even smaller than the pittance I had during the summer. It should go the other way, but a new school year means all new activities from fall baseball to soccer to my eldest son making the varsity volleyball team. It all adds up to getting home, making dinner, and rushing out the door and by the time we get home I just want to clean the kitchen, make lunches, and go to bed. Thus, I’ve been playing a lot of One Deck Dungeon mainly in that dreamy time between physically getting into bed and actually falling asleep. As I said in the intro, I’ve really fallen in love with the digital adaptation. I will have some tabletop time this weekend (after my son’s soccer game in the morning and other son’s all-day volleyball tournament) with my regular game group. If you’ve been following the exploits of my game group in these pages, you’ll know that we’re kind of hooked on 18xx right now. I’m not sure which one will hit the table, but I’m pretty sure it will involve stock trading and trains. Really going out on a limb there. If I’m lucky (and my family gives me any alone time) I will mess around with Cities: Skylines on the Switch. Odds of that happening are slim.

-Dave Neumann

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